Intuit Extends SMB Reach of QuickBooks Enterprise

 
 
By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2006-06-05
 
 
 

Intuit Extends SMB Reach of QuickBooks Enterprise


PHOENIX—Intuit continues to expand up-market through its QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 6.0 bookkeeping and financial management package for small and midsize businesses with the introduction of a 20-seat version and a channel marketing initiative.

The new 20-seat version allows Intuit to market its product to larger organizations that are looking to move from other long-established accounting and bookkeeping products, such as Microsofts Great Plains or Sage Softwares Peachtree package.

Intuit, of Mountain View, Calif., followed up on the QuickBooks Enterprise announcement with news that it is offering the QuickBooks Merchant Service to enable small businesses to accept credit card payments for online sales.

QuickBooks Merchant Service will allow small businesses to synchronize sales and customer data between their online stores and their QuickBooks sales records.

To support the service, Intuit is working with major Web commerce service providers, including Affinity Internet, eBays ProStores, GoDaddy.com, Homestead Technologies and WebSite Pros.

The integration between QuickBooks and online Web stores means business owners wont have to manually re-enter transaction data, according to company officials.

Instead, QuickBooks will automatically create real-time financial reports that track sales, credit card invoices and payments.

Intuit is offering QuickBooks Merchant Service for a one-time setup fee of $59.95 and a basic monthly fee of $17.95.

Web store services range from $6.99 to $249.95 per month based on what e-commerce provider and package the small business selects.

Intuit, of Mountain View, Calif., announced the new 20-seat QuickBooks package and the channel program May 31 at the companys first QuickBooks user conference here attended by about 750 of its 25,000 customers.

Lucchini said the company deliberately limited the attendance at this initial conference because it hasnt decided whether it wants to organize a large-scale user conference as an annual event.

Intuit, he noted, doesnt hold user conferences for its other two mass-market consumer products, TurboTax and the Quicken personal finance application, which are used by millions of users.

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is used by close to 400,000 users because multiple employees typically work with the package at each customer site, said Lucchini.

While QuickBooks hasnt yet grown to the same scale as these other two products, it is growing strongly with Intuit reporting that QuickBooks revenue is up 116 percent over the previous year.

Click here to read more about Intuits plans to push deeper into the small to midsize business market with QuickBooks Enterprise.

To further prime the sales pump, Intuit is initiating a reseller program in which "certified solution providers" will receive a 25 percent discount for the product along with training, lead referrals and free software for their own use, company officials said.

While QuickBooks will retain its laser focus on SMBs, there is no question that the package is being used by larger businesses as well, Lucchini said.

"When we first started QuickBooks, it was for very small businesses. These businesses have grown over time, and we have expanded to meet their needs," said Bill Lucchini, vice president of Intuits midmarket sector.

Next Page: Another trend.

Another Trend


But then the other trend is that other companies that were using Sage Software MAS 90 accounting package, Great Plains, a custom package or a package that was built in house have found that these applications are either becoming too complex for their needs or have become obsolescent, Lucchini said. This is when they take a look at QuickBooks, he said.

"Some of those companies are pretty big and weve found that we have closed the door to some of them with the number of seats we allow," he noted.

QuickBooks sells licenses in five-seat increments with the first five seats starting at $3,000 and each additional five seats costing an additional $1,500. The 20-seat license will cost $7,500 to new customers and $6,750 for an upgrade.

"So by taking it up by one more notch, we open the door the door to more customers in terms of scalability," Lucchini said.

The license covers concurrent users so a 20-seat license might actually serve as many as 30 to 35 users during the course of a business day, he noted.

For Steve Simmons, a partner in S&S Hospitality, a 55-employee catering and event management service based in Kennewick, Wash., the biggest benefit from using QuickBooks has been its ability to grow with the business.

Simmons, one of the attendees at the QuickBooks user conference, said the company purchased QuickBooks in 2002 mainly because they wanted a package that was easy to install and use.

"QuickBooks let us get up and running quickly and wasnt too complicated to use," he said.

Click here to read about a patch management tool introduced by Intuit.

"We use it to do all of our payroll in house and all of our financial reports," including sales, profit and loss, he said.

At tax time, the company is able to send a consolidated QuickBooks report to its tax accountant with the details on revenue, profits, payroll and expenses, he said.

These are valuable features for a steadily growing company that is now catering more than 1,500 events a year, he said.

Besides the new 20-users package, QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 6.0 users can process twice the number of items, customers and vendors than in the earlier QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier editions.

The enterprise package also has new inventory management features, including bills of materials tracking that accounts for both material and non-material costs, which lets users estimated how many finished products they can assemble with current inventory.

Editors Note: This story was updated to add information about the QuickBooks Merchant Service.

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